‘Chicago P.D.’: Why Jesse Lee Soffer Says Portraying Jay Halstead is ‘Always Challenging’

by Jacklyn Krol

Chicago PD star Jesse Lee Soffer said that playing the role of Jay Halstead is no walk in the park.

In a recent interview with DuJour Magazine, Soffer spoke about how he has grown into Jay. He portrays the role across the One Chicago franchise, which also includes Chicago Med and Chicago Fire. Playing a character so well known across numerous television shows is not an easy task.

“It’s always challenging,” he admitted. “I’m always trying to find the character and trying to change the character and figure out what he’s going through and what he’d be experiencing in a given moment or something like that, but on top of that we’re always learning.”

The good news is that they have police officers on set serving as technical advisors. He said that they have “constantly teaching us new tricks of the trade and putting us in scenarios that we haven’t been in before.”

“So the job is always challenging and there’s always a new experience. I think that keeps us on our toes,” he concluded.”

One instance of a new experience is when he was on the set of Chicago PD and he learned from the SWAT team. He was taught how to use a shotgun properly and ended up using live ammunition for a scene where he shot a door off its hinges. The officers approved him to actually film the scene himself instead of a stunt double. He added that stuntwork is one of his favorite aspects of the job. However, the network, NBC, doesn’t approve the major dangerous stunts that have to be completed by professionals.

‘Chicago PD’ New Season

One of the more complex relationships in the series is between Detective Jay Halstead and Sergeant Hank Voight. Chicago PD fans know that Voight has a unique and different leadership style. Meanwhile, Halstead hasn’t kept his questions or his actions to himself and will disagree with even a boss.

During NBC’s midseason press event, Soffer spoke to One Chicago Center. He teased how their relationship will be evolving in episodes to come.

“You will see more of [Jay pushing back against Voight], but maybe not in the way it played out in previous seasons. Their relationship’s really grown and there’s a mutual respect,” Soffer revealed.

He clarified that the two may not always see eye to eye, but they do have respect for each other. Although their policing ways are extremely different, they have grown over the past season.

“Halstead appreciates what kind of cop Voight is, and Voight appreciates what kind of cop Jay is,” Soffer explained. “They might not see eye-to-eye and Jay might push back at times, which you’ll see in episodes coming up, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t totally believe in Voight and trust Voight.”